Minecraft and the Fair

-meaning of The Fair, by Nick

Fair organizers initially planned for the 1939 World’s Fair to bring Americans out of the slump of the Great Depression.  The Fair differentiated itself from previous fairs by its extensive use of the Depression Modern style and its focus on the “World of Tomorrow.”  Exhibitors intended to encourage Americans to work for the future represented at the Fair by demonstrating the capabilities of industry and government as tools for promoting progress.  The government also hoped to use the Fair to lead peace talks between European nations.  The Fair was effective in its promotion of industry and government, but the unexpected reaction of the American public to events in European limited its success.  The crisis in Europe caused Americans to redefine democracy as a responsibility to spread peace and freedom.  Emboldened by the message of the 1939 Fair, the American public worked to repurpose the 1940 Fair to fulfill their newfound responsibility.  Facing public pressure, Fair and government officials began using the Fair to interact with European democracies and openly defy aggressor nations in an attempt to secure peace.  The 1940 Fair did not bring America to the warfront, but acted as a pivotal first step in American inheriting the role of World leadership during the latter half of the twentieth century.


-Student View of Minecraft Assignment #1
“After completing the paper,” one wrote, “I realized that the Minecraft project influenced most of my argument. While building the Federal Building, I found many articles that described its purpose of advertising government functions to the average American citizen. Even though I did not construct an industrial building, the simple fact that they were at the entrance of the Fair, which I noticed while doing the Minecraft project, suggested their importance to me. Lastly, while building the League of Nations Building, I realized that many European exhibits did little to address the situation in Europe. Instead, much of the focus on European attention started with outraged Americans that wanted to protect the victims of the war in Europe.”

-Student View of Minecraft Assignment #2

“Originally, I had a clear idea of what kind of paper I wanted to write for this project. I would draw upon some of my previous papers, although they often left the scope of the class, including events on the Treaty of Versailles and Eastern Front of WWII. However, in the end, I decided that I could make a better final paper if I used research I found from participating in the Minecraft group project and sources that were more relevant to the symbolic meaning of the course. Furthermore, I adjusted my thesis of my final paper to reflect my Minecraft research and my participation within class…. My new paper would include all of the research I did for the Minecraft project and similar research from in class activities. Most of the time I spent playing Minecraft was working on the Firestone and General Electric buildings. Therefore, seeing as I did the most research for the General Electric and Firestone buildings, most of my research focused on the Transportation Zone and Production Zone. My new thesis would revolve around the importance of American corporations and shifting American public opinion over the course of the World’s Fair and the events in Europe that changed the meaning behind the Fair…. When comparing my papers from the beginning of the semester to my final paper, it is obvious how much my writing has developed. From my improvements in providing evidence to support my claims to just basic paper structure, it is clear how dramatic the change is. In the future, I just need to get interested in the topic and develop a proper pre-writing plan to produce similar quality papers in other classes. It is safe to say that I no longer dread writing papers and I am very proud of this one in particular.”

-Student View of Minecraft Assignment #3
“I think that this paper helped to remind me that we were not just learning about history in this class. We looked deeper into the intentions of the actors in 1939, and we saw the American ideals and the symbolism in the World’s Fair.”

-Student View of Minecraft Assignment #4
“I definitely think the Minecraft assignment and the library research complimented each other. As a student who did not work in Minecraft, I found that it enhanced the experience of the class to visualize a model of the Fair while simultaneously doing research on the culture or political climate of 1939.”